Happy day-after-Halloween, day-before-Dios de Los Muertos, and 1st day of NaNoWriMo!
As two of these events are traditionally spooky, let’s think about spooky books! Also, my NaNoWriMo story this year will probably have heavy vibes of all the books I’m about to mention, so I think this works nicely as today’s blog post. Disclaimer: I’m not a big reader of horror, so these books are not that–they’re just ‘spooky’ and play around with ideas of death/supernatural creatures/witches. You’ll also notice that there’s not much author/book variety here, so join in and please list your favourite ‘spooky’ books and why they’re worth reading in the comments!
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This book follows the story of Nobody “Bod” Owens as he grows up in a graveyard after his real family was killed. Taught how to live by ghosts, ghouls and spectres, the novel details Bod’s life from toddler to young adult. It’s no easy growing up either when he can pass through the graveyards walls and learns his letters by reading gravestones. And not to mention the assassin who wants to finish the job he started.
Spooky factor: Medium. Unless you count bizarre as spooky, then extreme. Filled with surreal beasts, evil humans, and passages to other hellish dimensions, it’s spooky without being overwhelming. And of course, there’s the lingering question of who really is Bod’s tall, mysterious guardian?
The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley
The folk must be fed. Otherwise, the milk will sour, the chickens will die, and the village will be terrorised. Only boys can be Folk Keepers, but it’s very easy to be eaten. Corrina is no boy, but she disguises herself and becomes the Folk Keeper at Cliffsend. The folk here are fierce, but Corrina won’t let that stop her–there are things she can do that normal people can’t. Discovering who she really is may mean she has to make a choice–one she can’t take back.
Spooky factor: High! The Folk are not to be taken lightly. They live under the house in a maze of tunnels and they like flesh. The book is told through Corrina’s diary entries, but even her descriptions of the creatures keep them shrouded in mystery. The Folk aren’t humans. They don’t appear to be animals. They seem almost like possessed spirits… with sharp teeth.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Coraline’s new house is big and creaky and boring until she discovers the little door in the lounge. Through it lives her other house, her other neighbours, and her other mother. It’s like her ordinary world, except better. Or is it? The jumping mice are singing warning songs, and the other mother’s eyes are glittering black buttons. She promises that she loves Coraline more than the mother in the boring world, but what does she mean by ‘love’?
The stop-motion animated film adaption is every bit as wonderful and creepy as the book. Not to mention gorgeous and impressive.
Spooky factor: You tell me. Are you afraid of ghost children, talking cats, fabricated realities and webs of lies that lead to your other mother promising happiness in exchange for sewing buttons into your eyes?
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Briony knows she’s a witch. How many times must she tell you before you give in and hang her? She’s at fault for every bad thing that’s ever happened to her family–her stepmother told her so before she died. Guilt is like a second skin to Briony. The swamp where the Old Ones lurk is her only refuge. Some like her stories, some can be bargained with, and some are only out for vengeance. But Briony’s a witch–she’s safe, right? When the eccentric, electric Eldric arrives in town, he treats Briony like she’s worth something–like she’s extraordinary. Surely she doesn’t deserve anything good though, especially not to be loved. With a past as tangled and messy as the swamp itself, Briony strives to untangle lies from truth, all whilst believing that she ought to be hanged.
Spooky factor: Eeek! This deep, creepy fairytale with hints of romance is one of my favourite books. The swift, thought-stream style narrative works brilliantly with the twisted, gory events that unfold. What has Briony done, and why? And should she be punished?
If you’ve not had a chance to read any of these books, you definitely should!! Again, please tell me your favourite ‘spooky’ books in the comments and why I should read them!